Religion In Nigeria: Do You Really Believe In God?

I was raised a Christian – somewhat. We didn’t go to church regularly except for New year’s eve. Even then we went to the neighborhood church with the neighborhood children.

Every once in a while, my dad packed us up and we headed to the Anglican Church. This happened about two to three times a year. My mom was a little weirder. She always attended churches and places where they could tell the future. She was always going to one spiritual leader or another. I’m not sure exactly what she was looking for, but she still hasn’t found it. My sister seems to have inherited this trait from her.

I’d never really believed the whole Jesus having to die for my sins (thing). I mean, there to me, seems to be a disconnect between the “God” .who created the physical universe and all it’s physical laws and chemical reaction – so rational so thoughtful, and the God of bible, egotistical, vindictive, unfair. For some odd reason, I never prayed to Jesus as a child. Just directly to God, even when I was too young to know the difference.

Now my parents have gotten a lot more religious. My dad even has a pastor and attends church regularly. My mom still runs around looking for spiritual answers with my sister in tow. I on the other hand have gone off in the opposite direction. I never liked women having to submit to men. That was always an issue with me but I never really questioned it. Then it was reading about the sweet smelling sacrifice of animals… Really? Does God really need to smell their flesh burning? I think of all the unfair and unjust things in the bible. The guy giving up his daughter to the men don’t get homosexually raped. Women- second class citizens of the world. I started to think, what really irks me about Christians is their penchant to use the bible to justify the bible. It’s the infallible word of God. Yet very few Nigerians take time to research the history of the bible. The virgin birth was not novel to Christianity. Praying is hit or miss. If you pray and it happens, it was because you had faith. If you had faith and it didn’t happen, it’s because it was not the will of God. Nigerians have been so brainwashed that we always wait for God instead of taking action. Shall I take my neighbor to court, who has robbed me? No, I’ll wait until something bad happens to him. (Which by the way is inevitable) then I shall say, it is God paying him back because he wronged me.

By the way, this phenomenon is not exclusive to Christianity in Nigeria. Those who practice Yoruba religion are very good for it. Somebody who beat me up last week, died today. Suddenly, everyone believes I’ve had some magic arts performed on it. No need to think about all the carbon dioxide all the old cars in Lagos are emitting. No need to think of any underlying condition he may have already had. No. it was juju for sure.
Tai Solarin once said religion was killing Nigeria. He was right.

Religion, I believe, was created to control the ignorant. If you are looking to me to tell you there is no God, don’t. I have no clue. He’s never talked to me. He’s been extremely silent. Yet there are times I have prayed and gotten what I asked for. There are times when I haven’t prayed and gotten what I wanted still. So how does it work?
Benny Hinn and Creflo Dollar, millionaires in there own rights, travel to places like Nigeria. Droves of people show up, they talk, they pray and they tithe and give offerings. Then these preachers take the money and return to the West. Millions of people left behind, still suffering, still crying out for God. Yet he is silent, still.

Join the discussion

  • Personally, I am bored with organised religion so do not participate much. I don’t have ideological issues with religion but do have a problem with people inviting me to thier churches, and wanting me to prove that I believe in God by coming to thier church. Slowly, my religious views are tending towards not bothered………..

    Another issue I have is inherent “mental laziness” in Nigerians. They usually explain away otherwise physical problems as spiritual. That way, they don’t have to think up a solution, they just pray!

  • Great article. I’ve never in my life met an African that has questioned religion so I find this refreshing.

    I have relatives in my family that go to church religiously to try to find answers to their problems. I have relatives who have lambasted me and have given me stink eye for not attending church outside of wakes and weddings.

    I’ve always found those behaviors to be sad because I just can’t understand why Africans latch on so tightly to foreign (White) religions. We have our own culturual customs and traditions but somehow we’re lost without a White Jesus or Arab Islam. I don’t get it.

  • I believe there is a supreme being somewhere. I believe that there is acreator somewhere.I do not understand why we humans spend a lot of time trying to figure out who God is.. The bible says Gods ways are higher than ours yet we try to explain every event on planet earth as if we know what God is thinking. I have read books books with ridiculous titles like “knowing the mind of God”…. how on earth can humans know the mind of God if his ways are higher than ours? just wondering .I believe that faith works. Faith works because God as already giving man everything he needs in life.. Faith just brings out that deposit of God.

  • Your article is well written. I believe in Spirituality which is your connection with your God whatever it is. Religion naija style “markets hope”, which is why it is the Opiate of the masses. I believe in God, and i deem my relationship with him as private. I dont concretely base my life on the Bible, i merely see it as a guide. My goal is to be a good person, and i take the parts of the scriptures that i feel embody that and use them. I ocassionally go to church to get food for my soul. The pastor is American and he isnt into preaching about witches, wizards, enemies, new cars, visa lottery and such other things that a lot of naija pastors tend to preach about.

    As for your mother looking for answers, there are people that are always looking for answers. Miracles are things that should be left to God. Any pastor that is performin miracles – I avoid. I dont believe in quick fixes.

  • I like the words of a song by the group “Out of the Grey” in which they sing “He [God] is not silent/We are not listening.” I think this is, more often than not, the truth. He speaks, we won’t listen.

    I believe in Jesus Christ–even with all the things about His ways that are beyond my understanding, or my liking. One day I will ask Him these questions face-to-face, but for now I can live with the mystery. Because there are many things about God (Jesus, the Holy Spirit) that we don’t understand, that are mysterious, we often make Him out to be something He is not. We attempt to fill in the gaps and come up with a construct that is so far from who He really is. We view Him through colored glasses and then project our views onto others. But I have encountered God, and know Him, if even just a little. I am getting to know Him better as I continue to walk with Him. My relationship with Him is the most precious relationship I have in life. No one can love and accept me like He does–the most fundamental human need.

    When all is said and done, I think it’s important to point out that what God is looking for is friendship with man. He can’t make you give Him that; you must be a willing participant. And relating to God is not about what we can get from Him; it’s about walking through life together with Him. So few understand this. Fewer even preach it.

    You’re entitled to not believe in Him–the beauty of free will–but I pray you encounter Him before this life is over. Coz this life is a mere shadow of the next one.

  • I love the reasoning behind this article. Although I believe in God, I often struggle with the God I read about in the old testament and modern day Christians justifying all they do because it is in the Bible. I struggle with what it means to be Christ-like. He says to love everyone, yet we are all busy doing the opposite…finding ways to be divisive. Perhaps organized religion is to blame. And if God is silent, perhaps it is because SHE has tuned out the tantrums we throw as her children in the name of religion. Perhaps we prefer our God to be silent, cus if SHE spoke the repercussions would be irreversible. That would not be something I want to be here for.

  • Ola

    I must commend you for a well written article. I certainly agree with what you have written. Religion was definately created to control the minds of the ignorant. It really baffles me when I see so called educated people in Nigeria falling prey to this so called Religion. As far as I am concerned, Religion is man made. There is a big difference between spirituality and religion. Look at the continent of Africa!!! Please tell me what this so called religion has done for us? The rest of the world is moving on – Europeans are forming alliances, China is taking stage at becoming the next world super power, the Asian economy is booming but yet we stupid Africans are clinging unto Religion! The same Europeans who introduced this religion to us don’t even practice it. Where is this so called God or Allah or whatever he is called? Has religion helped us in Africa or even Nigeria? NO! If praying could solve all our economic problems in Nigeria then Nigeria could have been a great nation by now. Nigerians should stop and think and begin to analyze this so called religion because it has done absolutely nothing for us but brain wash us of our common sense. We should stop waiting for that “White Messiah” because he is never coming!!! We as human beings are the only ones that can help ourselves. It’s not by senseless prayers and wailing that will help propel us out of poverty and misery. As far as I am concerned the bible is just a book of fairy tales written thousands of years ago that bears no relevance in the world we live today. I agree with the late Tai Solarin – Religion is killing and has basically killed Nigeria. We lack common sense. Look at all these multi millonaries pastor who prey on the minds of their ignorant congregations!! The late Fela Kuti was definately right when he sang about us suffering and smiling. OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE!!!! I REPEAT – THAT WHITE MESSIAH THAT YOU ARE WAITING FOR WILL NEVER COME!!! I REST MY CASE.